Category Archives: Carry Ons

Find the latest and greatest carry on information. Airline regulations are constantly changing, so be sure your bags fit the most recent TSA requirements.

One person’s African Safari adventure tale

Renee Silverman, vice president of marketing at Irv’s Luggage, recently took a trip to Africa. She is joining us today to discuss her trip and share some things she learned during her trip.

  1. So, Renee you were recently in Africa. What countries did you go to and how did you pick your destinations?

My daughter was volunteering as a nurse in Uganda, so that determined the start point IMG_1457of our trip. From there, it was easy to get to neighboring Tanzania, which was where we would spend the majority of our time in Africa. We hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro and went on safari in the Serengeti. From there we went to Rwanda, just to the west of Tanzania, to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. With so much time spent traveling to these destinations, on board comfort was imperative. I couldn’t have made it without a neck pillow, which conveniently attached to my backpack and made the journey much more comfortable.

  1. What was the favorite part of your trip?

All of it! If I had to choose 1 thing, I would say seeing the mountain gorillas up close and personal was my favorite.

  1. Working at a luggage store, you get to pick what bags you wanted to take. How did you decide what luggage to use?

Knowing ahead of time that we would be flying on small inter-country flights as well as large overseas carriers, helped me decide which bags would accommodate a variety of flights with different baggage requirements. The smaller planes we would be flying had stricter baggage sizes and weights due to the size of the planes, so we planned on packing to accommodate the strictest requirements. This meant traveling with a smaller checked bag than I might ordinarily have taken. Since the smaller planes would only allow a maximum weight of 40 lbs, that was what we used as our overall weight guideline for packing for the trip. I chose to bring a lightweight High Sierra drop bottom duffel that would allow me to separate my items, but which had a lot of packing space. In general, a duffel bag is a great option over a large suitcase when traveling far and needing to pack a lot. In addition, I knew that I would need a backpack for the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb as well as the jungle climb to see the gorillas, so my carry on personal bag was a Granite Gear hiking backpack that I could use for those treks.

  1. What was your packing strategy and did you learn anything about packing during your trip?

I used a lot of packing cubes and compression bags in my luggage that I would highly recommend to every traveler. The packing cubes not only save on space in your luggage, but they help keep your belongings organized and make it easy to move when you are traveling from place to place. Everything I packed went into a packing cube. The compression bags are important if you need to pack bulky items that take up space. In our case, we had to pack lightweight down jackets, sweaters and other cold weather gear for the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb. After the climb, we would not need those items, so they were packed back into the compression bags and took up very little space in our luggage.

  1. Did you bring any souvenirs home from your trip?

MZQJ4638Yes! We purposely brought large duffels and packed light so that we had room for extras. It’s so important to plan ahead for buying souvenirs or the trip home could be a nightmare. Another great idea is to bring along an extra foldable tote or duffel to bring your souvenirs home in.

  1. What was the favorite item or items you took with you?

The backpack was the best and most important item we brought. Being hands free in airports and when boarding planes is a huge benefit. That said, be sure that your important documents are secured in the interior of your backpack and not easily accessible from the outside for security reasons. Invest in an RFID passport case to protect your passport and credit cards while traveling.

  1. If you go back to Africa again what item or items would you take with you? Did you take anything with you that you didn’t need?

We really didn’t end up bringing anything superfluous. We needed and used everything we brought. Researching your destinations beforehand really helps when it comes to packing correctly for a long trip. Many websites offer packing lists for specific destinations that can serve as guidelines for what to pack.

  1. Do you have any warm memories of the people you met during your trip? Can you tell us a little about that?

We have incredible memories of people that we met in every country! We made a pointIMG_2059 of talking to local people as often as we could so that we could really understand the cultures better. When traveling, local people expect tourists to ask a lot of questions, which we did. There was nothing we felt we couldn’t ask, and we learned more through these conversations than any amount of reading could provide.

  1. What type of outfits did you take with you and what would you take now knowing what you know?

It is important when traveling abroad, to research not only the weather of a particular destination, but the cultural norms of the countries you are visiting. We strive to dress in a way that is respectful to the cultures as well as comfortable for us. Layering options are key; we always had long sleeved layers we could add or take away. Also, plan for rain depending on where you are going. Rain slickers roll up small and take up little space in your luggage, but could save you if you encounter wet, rainy conditions.

  1. What memories did you take home from you?

So many memories; from the children in Uganda to Mt. Kilimanjaro to lions feeding on wildebeest in the wild and gorillas playing in the jungle! I highly recommend bringing a journal to record your daily activities, or setting up a WordPress blog before you go. We think we could never forget such memorable experiences, but the details inevitably fade with time. Recording the details in the moment is time well spent when taking a special trip.

  1. Renee, do you have any trips planned for the future and/or where would you like to go?

Yes! Our next destination is the Emerald Isle – Ireland! We plan to rent a car and spend 7 days driving through Ireland on a trip that we create. We hope to see the beautiful Cliffs of Moher, kiss the Blarney Stone, see the bustle of Dublin and the extraordinary countryside of Connemara.

Thank you so much Renee Silverman for joining us. No matter where you are going Irv’s Luggage will be there for you with all your travel needs.

 

Celebrate The New Year With New Travel Goals

2018 is here and the New Year means new beginnings. This can include making travel resolutions for this year. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Traveling only with a carry-on this year. Nothing is better than taking a quick trip Tourist+Cabin+Spinner+-+Petrol+Blueto your favorite warm-weather destination or a ski weekend, but with check-in fees and time wasted at the baggage carousel short trips can be a hassle. Packing light might seem hard at first but with practice, you will be surprised how little you need. One of our most popular carry-on is the Briggs & Riley U122CX It features a compression feature which allows you to fill it to the max. Check out this video here to see how much this case can fit.

 

  1. When traveling with only a carry-on, make sure that you follow TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for GoToob+2+Oz+-+3+Pack+Clear+Green+Blueliquids. This limits you to 3 items of 3.4 oz or less. If you like to use your own products when traveling consider purchasing refillable bottle sets, such as Humangear’s GoToob. Switching from liquid soap to bar soap also will help avoid this dreaded rule.

 

  1. Another great resolution is to organize your items before you even pack. One great Pack-It+Garment+Folder+Mediumtip is to use packing cubes. Eagle Creek is the original maker of packing cubes and they offer more sizes and styles than any other company. For example, the half-cube is great for socks and underwear and the full-cube is great for t-shirts. There are also garment folders for shirts and pants. Using them will make packing and unpacking a breeze.

 

  1. Last but not least…. go somewhere new this year! Here is a link to a great article on the top budget destinations for 2018 https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandratalty/2017/11/20/the-27-best-budget-travel-destinations-for-2018/#12b4a5b45086. Make this the year of going to new and exciting places and let Irv’s Luggage be your travel companion.

Ultimate Luggage guide for Caribbean cruising

With all the damage the recent hurricanes have inflicted on Caribbean islands, many people who would have normally gone to a resort on an island are for the first time considering going on a cruise ship instead. This is a great option if your favorite island isn’t quite ready for tourists, but you still want to enjoy resort type amenities and the great weather the Caribbean offers. However, you will have to approach how you pack slightly differently. Below is a guide to help you out.

Luggage

What luggage you take with you depends on your needs; however, there are a few things HYA-13071-3160-26you will want to keep in mind.

  1. You will always want to take at least one carry-on suitcase. This is a bag you will keep with you at all times. All your valuables and any items you will need on your first day of the cruise should go in this bag. You will do a lot of walking so make sure your bag wheels well before your trip. If you have an older carry-on this might be a good time to upgrade.
  2. Most of the time your suitcases will have to fit underneath your bed. This will require some planning if you are taking several cases. One option is to get a luggage set that can be nested. Another option is a rolling duffel that can be folded down for storage. This might be a good option for families.
  3. If you are bringing lots of formal outfits you might want to consider a rolling garment bag. Your nicer garments will arrive ready to wear and the bag can be hung in a closet without taking your clothing out.

Accessories

The following travel accessories are recommended for any cruise travel:LCI-1383-BLU_2

Packing cubes

Adaptors and/or convertors (see this previous blog, check with the cruise operator if you need one)

-A small backpack or tote for day trips

Toiletry bags and pill planners

Waterproof phone pouch

Luggage tags (the brighter the better) and locks

I always suggest reading the cruise operator’s website and follow their advice closely. Also, make sure to give yourself time to get to your boat (consider flying in the night before.) Travel insurance is recommended for everyone. Lastly, I highly suggest taking your passport with you and make sure it is not near expiration. Most of all relax and enjoy yourself.

Introducing Jump and Swiss Bags luggage

There are some things that the Europeans do better than us, and one of them is traveling light. That includes making suitcases that are both tough and lightweight. Now many of these lines of luggage are now making it across the pond. Two lines that are new to America are Jump and Swissbags. Both companies feature the latest designs that American companies just haven’t been able to copy. Below are a few of our favorites.

Jump Paris Crossline luggage is durable, lightweight and best of all, a good-looking case.JMP-ST20-BLUE With all polycarbonate construction it will be able to hold up to just about anything the airlines can do to it and with its unique pattern you will never struggle to find this case in the luggage carrousel. Did I mention that the carry-on is only 4.13 pounds? They even have a TSA built-in lock for extra security.

Tired of plain, boring soft luggage? Then Jump’s Nice Soft luggage is a lightweight and fashionable alternative to other company’s JMP-6573-NAVYsoft-sided luggage. With all nylon construction and leather trim this is a great all-around case for anyone. Best of all, the carry-on is only 4.1 pounds, so there is no downside to this line. Also available are a complimentary line of totes and backpacks.

Another new brand for America is a Swiss company, Swissbags. They have completely reinvented the classic polypropylene case. This is the same material your hard luggage would have used 30-40 years ago only re-engineered for today’s needs. The new polypropylene is virtually indestructible and can handle anything the airlines can do to it. If this case does manage to get cracked, the company will replace this case at no cost. There is no other company in this price range doing this. Check out this video on what this case can handle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoFcu8BAQG0.  Also, the carry-on is still only 5.5 pounds so it is lightweight as well.
SBG-SB343-ORGBoth Jump and Swiss Bags are unique products that are only available through select luggage stores. You will not find any of their products at department or discount stores. So check out the full line of Jump and Swissbags today online or in-store at our two locations. Once you become a fan you will want the whole line.

Your guide to international carry-on luggage

When traveling in North America which carry-on you need is simple; a domestic carry-on (22’’-14’’-9’’) is accepted by all the major carriers. However, things get murkier when traveling overseas. While many luggage makers sell international carry-ons there are no set carry-on sizes that each airline takes and very few rules regulating sizes overseas.

If you are flying direct overseas or using connecting flights, things nowadays are TP-4071667-01fairly simple. IATA Resolution 302 states that whoever the marketing carrier is (the company that you booked your flight from) their baggage rules must apply to all legs of your trip. So if your ticket says United, American, or any other major US carrier then your domestic carry-on will suffice. If you are booked on a major international carrier, refer to their website and follow their guidelines.

Things get murkier if you have multiple legs of your trip booked separately, especially if you will be using overseas regional jets.  Each regional airline overseas has a different standard for what qualifies for a carry-on and most have weight restrictions that really limit what you can pack in your suitcase. Please make note of any weight restrictions before packing and I recommend always having a luggage scale.

BR-TD445-47So if you are going be using regional overseas carriers you might have to rethink how you pack. My best recommendation is to consider not using a carry-on at all. For example, if you are going for several weeks and using several regional carriers, then a 25’’-26’’ suitcase plus a backpack, tote, or wheeled tote might be a perfect solution for you. You will have to check a bag either way so a smaller personal bag might be all you need to keep emergency items in.

For student’s studying overseas I really like convertible backpacks, especially ones without wheels. They can be carried either like a LGR-LG43-BLK_4backpack or a shoulder bag and have cinches that allow the bag to be adjusted to your specific needs and they usually weigh less then wheeled bags. My current favorite is the Lite-Gear Travel Pack. It can hold as much as a conventional carry-on and only weighs two pounds.

Finally, as always, less is more when it comes to packing for your overseas trip. Consider taking less then you usually pack, especially when it comes to shoes and accessories. You will be doing a lot of walking so plan on taking your most comfortable and easy to use clothing and shoes. The good news is planning for your trip in advance will help avoid nasty surprises on your trip, and that is something we all can appreciate.

 

First look: New Briggs & Riley Transcend

When people find out you work for a luggage store their first question usually is, what is your favorite brand of luggage? While we love all brands here at Irv’s Luggage, there always been a soft spot for Briggs & Riley. Not only are they popular with both our employees and our customers, but they are Consumer Reports top rated luggage company. They are the only line of bags to offer such features the Simple As That warranty and an outside pull handle for easy packing. Now for 2017, they have redesigned their Transcend line of luggage.BR-TU422VX-46

So what is different in these new models? In one word; EVERYTHING. Traditionally, the Transcend series was a simple, no frills case for a casual traveler. Now this series has moved upscale. The most obvious change for this new model are new colors (rainforest, merlot, and slate) and a squared off shape. This gives their cases a more modern and luxurious look. This theme is continued inside with an upgraded tan interior that replaces the utilitarian gray color.

However, the biggest change is the redesigned expansion system. Briggs & Riley has gotten rid of the zippered expansion system and replaced it with their new VX variable expansion system. This system uses Velcro to allow the consumer to adjust the expansion to fit their items, rather than a zipper system which is either open or closed. No other luggage manufacturer has a system like this; it is truly one of a kind.br fbr ebr g

Another unique feature that Briggs & Riley offers is matching accessories. Most brands offer maybe a tote and a wheeled tote. However, Briggs has expanded their Transcend accessories to include wheeled totes, a shopping tote, toiletry kits, and new for 2017 a cabin bag and backpacks. All these accessories are available in all three colors and easily fit over the handle of all of their bags. These are must-have items when purchasing your new Briggs.br a

While the Briggs & Riley Baseline series is still the choice for the business traveler, the new Transcend series is a great choice for the frequent leisure traveler looking for a quality bag that is fashion forward. With all these new features it is one of our top sellers. Check out our website today to see all the sizes and styles or stop by one of our stores in Mt. Prospect or Northbrook, IL for a product demonstration. Once you own a Briggs & Riley you will be a loyal for life.

College Luggage and Backpack guide

It’s the time of year every parent dreads; sending your kid off to college. First-time students will need items like backpacks, duffels, and other travel items. All this packing might seem overwhelming at first. However, a bit of planning can prevent the dreaded last-minute panic. Below is a handy guide of what you might need for the new college student.

Backpacks

A backpack in college can serve a very different function than they did in high school. TNF-CHK3-SSWThe days of having to carry all your books and lunch to school are over. The college student won’t have to carry as many books but they probably will want to carry a laptop to class and study groups. Make sure that any backpack you buy has a padded compartment for a laptop. The North Face backpacks have been popular with college students for many years, and still standard issue at many college campuses. For most fashionable students, brands such as Kipling or Knomo might fit their style. For the student who wants to major in business, backpacks that are designed for professional use will be perfect to use for internships and job hunting.

The Weekend

One famous college tradition that hasn’t changed in many years is the road trip. Students will need a bag for coming home or visiting friends at other college campuses. Weekender bags are very popular because they are lightweight and because their designs can hold lots of clothing and accessories. Small, non-wheeled duffels are popular too because of their structured look and durability. If a student will be mostly traveling by plane to get home a carry-on suitcase might be a more practical idea.

ATH-534-BLUE

Getting There and Back

If you are going by car then boxes and large duffel bags will suffice. However, if your student will be flying back and forth to school things get trickier. Wheeled duffels are a popular item due to their easy storage (they will fit under most beds). Luggage can be used too but take up more room in small dorm rooms. The next question is size. Duffel bags 34’’ and smaller usually will work with airline regulations as long as they are less than 50 pounds. Larger sized and overweight bags will usually incur extra costs so be careful if you are trying to minimize costs.

Final Thoughts

When I first went off to college over 25 years ago, my family and I had to buy and pack everything I would need to furnish my dorm room. With the advent of the internet and e-commerce now, things can be ordered beforehand and shipped to the school on the day they will arrive. This will save you from having to physically bring everything and speed up the moving process. Sometimes things do change for the better.